Senator David Norris Speaks to Institute Of Technology Carlow Law Students on Equal Rights
The scholar, independent Senator and civil rights activist, Senator David Norris, was a visitor to the Institute today where he spoke to law students on his journey as an equal rights campaigner.
The former university lecturer and member of the Oireachtas was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in Ireland. A founder of the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform, Senator Norris is credited with having managed, almost single-handedly, to overthrow the law which criminalised homosexual acts, a feat he achieved in 1988 after a 14-year campaign. Having lost in the High Court and Supreme Court, Norris took his case to the European Court of Human Rights (Norris V Ireland) which ruled that the law criminalising same sex activities was contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights, in particular Article 8 which protects the right to respect for private life.
Since this law was repealed in 1993, Senator Norris has expanded his activism to universal rights.
After meeting Dr. Mulcahy, Senator Norris was introduced by student Darren Smyth, who had invited the Senator to the Institute . Speaking to a full lecture hall in the Haughton Building, Senator Norris was as entertaining as he was informative and held his audience spellbound. He took several questions from the audience on such issues as the presidential election, the homeless crisis, mental health and the economy, amongst others. Following the talk, a queue of students waited to speak to the Senator and thank him personally for his significant work on LGBT rights.